Bernd Wiesberger flew into first place at the Maybank Malaysian Open today after carding an incredible nine-under-par 63 in his third round.
The 29-year-old Austrian has been in brilliant form this year, recording three straight top-six finishes before this event, and he came flying out of the blocks with birdies on the first five holes at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to eventually finish the day two shots ahead of the pack.
Three consecutive birdies to finish handed Wiesberger the lowest score of his European Tour career and put him in the driving seat for Sunday, but he vowed not to get carried away.
“I caught up with the leaders early, which was good, and finished off well,” he said. “I felt very comfortable out there and I didn’t even let the bogey (at the eighth) bother me.
“It was really nice out there, with less wind today. Everyone was making birdies early on and it was nice to be amongst that.
“I’ve shot 64 a few times on Tour but this is the lowest. I won’t be fooled by this position (on Sunday). There are a lot of good scores out there, as we saw today, so I’ll be trying to make some birdies again and play as well as I did today.”
Wiesberger -17 under par – led by two strokes from Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, who finished eagle-birdie-bogey for a 68.
“It was fun – playing alongside these guys is always fun,” said Canizares, who played alongside Wiesberger and Lee Westwood. “I made more mistakes than the previous days, but I’m happy I made an eagle two on 16 with a wedge.
“Overall I’m pleased with the way I played. It’s always good to play with someone who is playing well as he’s pulling you to make birdies as well. It was fun to watch, Bernd played great. He kept me going and kept me pushing.”
England’s Paul Waring had two eagles in his round of 65 to lie joint third alongside compatriot Westwood, who birdied the last two holes for a 69, while India’s Anirban Lahiri posted the round of the week – a 10-under-par 62 – to leap to fifth place.
“I didn’t play particularly well today, so I was pleased to shoot 69, which keeps me in the hunt,” defending champion Westwood said. “I couldn’t feel my hip action, especially early on.
“But I only made one bogey, and I made some crucial birdies on 17 and 18. If I didn’t make them I’m looking at probably being five shots back, so it was nice to finish with a bit of momentum.
“You can get into a false mindset, where you convince yourself that you’re not playing very well, when it’s just that someone else has had a great start and is hitting it close.
“Both of them (Wiesberger and Canizares) birdied the first two holes, so two pars felt like it was a bit slow. You’ve just got to be patient. I’ve been in this position often enough so it’s the old adage of playing your own game and taking it one shot at a time.”
Waring was delighted with his day’s work and aimed to continue in a similar vein on Sunday.
“Obviously I’m very happy,” the 30-year-old said. “I started like a train and gave myself a lot of good chances early on and could have been really deep in the first five holes.
“It’s been a good week. I’ve been hitting a lot of close iron shots and giving myself lots of chances. I hope to carry on attacking flags (on Sunday) and see how we go. I’ve felt good for a while the last few weeks. The swing feels good, the putting feels good.”